Britain's 19th century was a period of unprecedented and rapid change - the modernization of a world power. This text is a fresh, authoritative history of this period. Britain is set firmly in the context of world power and the possession of empire. The overarching theme is the challenge presented by democracy in a period framed by the First and the Fourth Reform Acts. "Democracy" itself had no stable meaning. Contrary to popular memory, its opponents were quite as vocal as its advocates. This book explores its implications for the role of the state, for the governance of the world's largest empire, and for the relationship between the different nations within the United Kingdom.
Hugh Cunningham is Professor of Social History, University of Kent. He is the author of several books, including the highly-regardedChildren and Childhood in Western Society since 1500 (Longman, 1995).